Tag Archives: short stories

Tortall and Other Lands – a Collection of Tales

tortalTitle: Tortall And Other Lands – A Collection Of Tales

Author: Tamora Pierce

Summary: A series of short stories mostly set in the fantasy country of Tortall and its surrounding areas.

Gut reaction: Girls, magic, religion, inner strength

Why: Tamora Pierce, as always, writes about magical girls and inner strength. She also touches on religion and acceptance this time, with a religion that’s clearly Islam under another name and some social pressure thrown in. A few stories are continuations of her previous novels. She’s a good writer, but not the best. I think she handled the Islam stories very well, but I’m not Muslim, so I can’t say much on her accuracy. Also, for once she wrote from a male perspective, and that, too, ended up well.

Who would like this book: Tamora Pierce fans, feminists, fantasy/magic fans.  I enjoyed it.

–Lexie, 16, West Seattle

WTS

Short Fiction – Running by Iris & Tash

Author’s Note:  My friend Tash from London and I met on social media, discussing our love for blogging and exploring the world of writing for fun.  The great thing about social media and teen bloggers is that collaboration is always on our minds.  Together, we came up with the idea of co-writing a story. The first hundred words written by her, I complete a portion, and vice versa.  After a few weeks, a tale of girl at her breaking point emerged…

Running

There they go again – arguing, I’m sick of it. Sometimes I wish that I was a different person, sometimes I wish I was dead. Sometimes I think the only thing that will stop them arguing is if something awful happened to the family.
 
I shout downstairs, “I’m going out!”
 
As I leave, I slam the door as hard as I can and run. I run as far and as fast as possible. I didn’t know where but I didn’t care. 
 
I reached a fairground and took in the sights and smells around me. Continue reading

Let It Snow – So many stories, all very cute.

let it snowTitle: Let It Snow

Author: Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Summary: Three holiday romances packed into one book.

The first story, The Jubilee Express, tells the story of Jubilee, a teenage girl stuck alone on Christmas Eve because her parents were arrested for being a little too excited about collectible miniature decorative houses and being involved in somewhat of a riot related to the release of another collectible. She is taking the train to her grandparent’s house in Florida when the snowstorm stops the train. As she ventures out to get to a payphone to call her grandparents, Jubilee runs into her classmate Stuart. Stuart invites her to come over to his house for Christmas so she doesn’t have to spend it alone. Jubilee has a boyfriend, but Stuart’s offer is as a friend. However, the events that follow could change that.

The second story, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, is about a group of friends: two boys, Tobin and JP, and one tomboyish girl, the Duke (aka Angie). Tobin and the Duke are best friends and that’s all they’ve ever been, but when they go on a journey to a waffle house during a snowstorm, their relationship changes.

The third story, The Patron Saint of Pigs, Addie, who regrets having recently broken up with her boyfriend, begins to realize how self-involved she is. In an effort to show how much she cares about others, she offers to pick up a teacup pig for her friend Tegan who ordered the pig weeks ago. Addie tries to remember, but she inevitably forgets to get the pig for her friend. Luckily, a “Christmas angel” helps her out and Addie learns a valuable lesson.

Six Word Review: So many stories, all very cute.

I started reading because: I was browsing through a library looking for a cute romance novel.

I would give this book 8/10 stars because all the stories are very sweet. It’s a fun read.

I loved how the stories crossed over with each other. It makes you very aware that everyone is the main character in their own lives and we’re just background characters to them while they’re background characters to us. I hated that there weren’t even more stories to be interwoven.

If the lead character Stuart was in a high school yearbook, he/she would be voted Most Likely To: Be The Sweetest Person Alive.

Anything else we should know? The summary doesn’t tell the whole of all the stories because there are three stories and it would be, like, three pages long if I did summarize it all in-depth. It may sound sort of shallow, and it kind of is, but sometimes shallow is good. It’s really a cute book and it describes the excitement of a snowstorm perfectly.

Regina, West Seattle

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“The Story in the Sound” by Maddy

orchestraThe Story in the Sound

by Maddy S., Teen Blogger from Northeast.

I have been preparing for this moment for months. Countless hours practicing; a thousand mistakes corrected; breaths and fingerings; rests and downbeats; they chisel this performance to perfection. Like a sculpture, all smooth curves and sharp angles. My foot taps the dusty floor to a rhythm only I can hear. The rest of the orchestra stands behind the curtain with me. We hold out instruments with tapping fingers, waiting for our turn to perform. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The lights on the stage are extremely bright. They come from all direction, making odd shadows by my feet and chair legs. The sound of rustling pages, squeaking chair legs, coughing, adjusting, is everywhere. Lights shift, and now I can’t see the audience. This feels like an interrogation. Everything is silent, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

Our conductor saunters onstage to a meager smattering of applause. It is hot in this auditorium and no one is that excited for their son or daughter’s middle school end-of-year performance. Sadly, we in the band know this. My shirt is too tight and did I mention it’s really hot and now my hair is coming loose from its ponytail and we are all just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The conductor turns to us, in an exaggerated way that is the cue to lift our instruments up. We do so. I imagine it looks like a wave from the audience, with a few ripples from the people who aren’t paying attention. They get elbow-nudges from stand partners. The baton hovers in the air. A few prep beats. Breathe, and—everything lifts away.

All I can hear is music. All I can feel is my instrument–we move together, weaving a story in a universal language. There is no before and there is no after. I do not have anything to think about except now and this music, this story, this sound.

I know the people around me; we have gone to the same school for a long time now. Some I have known since elementary school. We are classmates, friends, supporters, allies, confidants…but that feeling of unity is more intense now. It feels like we are hearing the music for the first time again, because it is also the last. We are hearing all the parts as one because it will never be so again. After this, we are all going to different high schools. We will lead our separate lives, play out different stories. But for now, in this moment, we are all playing the same story. We know it by heart.

And it is incredible.

Bouncing, moaning, flitting, pounding, tip-toeing, screaming, whispering…this is music. Not notes, rhythms, not even practicing. Music is how you play it. How you feel it in the soles of your feet and your neighbor’s too. Music is an emotion.

We receive a standing ovation at the end.

standing ovation

 

 

 

And then it’s over.

The First Goat on Mars

Editor’s Note: Camilla, a 19-year-old intern at 826 Seattle, has selected some excellent work that 826 students are producing this summer to share with us on Push To Talk.  

Camilla’s Note: This piece is from a long-running collaboration with the Puget Sound Goat Rescue. Students went on a field trip where they met and observed the goats, and later turned those experiences into talk show—style interviews. This is one of those interviews.

THE FIRST GOAT ON MARS

By Miles R.

goat

INTERVIEWER:  Hello, everybody!  Today, I am proud to present to you Scooby, the first goat on Mars!

SCOOBY:  Thank you, everybody, thank you!

The applause fades, then ceases.

INTERVIEWER:  We understand NASA sent you to test soil and atmosphere on the red planet.  How was it up there?

SCOOBY: Peaceful.  But no alder leaves to munch on, and no one to play with.

INTERVIEWER:  Was the launch scary?

SCOOBY:  Very!  When the engines launched, it smashed me against my seat.  When we where breaking the atmosphere, it heated up like a frying pan, and rattled like a rattlesnake.  When we reached space, the gravity change threw me into the air and my horns got stuck on the ceiling, and it took me ten minutes to get out, and even longer to repair the ceiling!  But that’s the way it goes.

SCOOBY sighs; it sounds like a bleat.

INTERVIEWER:  Exciting!  Did you send out any space probes?

SCOOBY:  Yes!

INTERVIEWER:  How many?

SCOOBY:  Five, but only four came back.

Whistling noises begin, then the sound of an explosion. Sirens start.

SCOOBY:  Oh, there it is!  Well, I need to go to lunch!

INTERVIEWER:  It’s been nice having you here.

SCOOBY:  It’s been nice being here. Goodbye!

Continue reading

The Saga of Vor, Part II

Viking-Ship-storm1Editor’s Note: Camilla, a 19-year-old intern at 826 Seattle, has selected some excellent work that 826 students are producing this summer to share with us on Push To Talk. We’ve divided this story into two parts; the second was posted yesterday.

Camilla’s note: This was from a Viking Saga workshop, in which students each created a character and completed writing challenges as that character in a journal format. This saga is able to present a complete story arc with an engaging heroine, and it left me wishing for a sequel.

THE SAGA OF VOR, PART II

By Sophia B.

After many days of sailing, we caught sight of a beautiful island of white sand. The foolish King Horic was paying us to discover new lands. This was perfect! It was a blur of blank white waiting to be built on. We sailed closer. Suddenly, pieces of the island started to split off and drift towards our ship. They were white stags, creatures legend to eat bits of the nine worlds. There were millions of them.

They had just started to tear our ship apart when two of Astrid’s sheep leapt off the ship and chased them away. The sheep rode white stags at the end of the pack. They bit and kicked until the stags were just dots on the horizon. We never saw those sheep again.

Astrid had bragged about her amazing fighter-sheep before, but I had never believed her.

“Why didn’t you tell them to fight back in England?” I asked.

“You never ordered me to. You were the captain, remember?”

Continue reading

The Saga of Vor, Part I

Viking-Ship-storm1Editor’s Note: Camilla, a 19-year-old intern at 826 Seattle, has selected some excellent work that 826 students are producing this summer to share with us on Push To Talk. We’ve divided this story into two parts; the second will be posted tomorrow.

Camilla’s note: This was from a Viking Saga workshop, in which students each created a character and completed writing challenges as that character in a journal format. This saga is able to present a complete story arc with an engaging heroine, and it left me wishing for a sequel.

THE SAGA OF VOR, PART I

By Sophia B.

I am Vor Jarlswife the Fearless, or at least that’s what I have the crew of Sheepscry thinking. I am Vor, that’s true at least, but Jarlswife? Fearless? They think I come from northern Finland, a place I’ve never seen. I do not even know if there is such a place as Sharkbridge, though these people here would never consider that their wonderful Vor the Fearless could really be a liar.

I still feel the sting of the nettle field against my feet and the ache in my legs from months of walking. They can’t see that though.

The Norwegian king, Horic, has asked me, the pretend Jarlswife from a pretend village in Finland, to lead a voyage to explore the west. The news of my “husband” and me has spread to very far away. No one minds that we have black hair and look so different from anyone else around here. That was taken care of when I told them that we had visited Asgard, their land of the gods, and that their King God, Odin, had given us our beautiful black hair as a gift. They ask us many questions about what we saw in their Asgard.

Continue reading